Singapore’s Tampines Rovers received yet another reminder of the harsh realities of life in the Asian Champions League fast lane after suffering an embarrassing 9-0 loss to Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on Thursday.
Gustavo scored four goals and Modou Barrow scored three times as the South Koreans moved closer to a place in the last 16 of the tournament they have won twice.
Conversely for the Rovers, it was as good as curtains for them in a format where only group winners are guaranteed to advance to the round of 16 after the AFC extended the tournament to 10 groups this year.
Jeonbuk was up in the sixth minute at Tashkent’s Lokomotiv Stadium with Gambian midfielder Barrow tapping closely after combining well with Brazilian striker Gustavo in a move that originated in midfield.
Gustavo transformed the supplier in the 14th minute by scoring on a superb pass from Ryu Jae-moon, then caught his second just a minute later with another thunderous shot past goalkeeper Muhammad Syazwan.
Kim Seung-dae made it 4-0 in the 35th minute before Jeonbuk added five more in the second half with Gustavo and Barrow sealing their hat tricks and giving their team a good goal difference more -10 in Group H after only three matches.
Also in Group H, Gamba Osaka was forced to share points with Thailand’s Chiangrai United who pulled off a 1-1 draw in the second-half stoppage time.
Brazilian Leandro Pereira put Gamba ahead in the 47th minute, but their hopes for a crucial victory were dashed in the fourth minute of added time as compatriot striker Rosimar Amancio, known simply as de Bill, scored closely in the game’s final foray. .
Gamba is second behind Jeonbuk with five points, but Chiangrai is also in the race with four, hoping to place among the top teams second.
Earlier, Nagoya Grampus had beaten Ratchaburi 3-0 and the Pohang Steelers counted on Johor Darul Ta’zim in Group G as the Southeast Asian teams continued to struggle.
Ratchaburi managed to keep Grampus at bay in the first half, but their resistance crumbled after the break with Brazilian striker Mateus in an excellent position to score in the 51st minute after a cross from Kazuki Nagasawa deviated and fell in his way.
Yoichiro Kakitani and Ryogo Yamasaki put the outcome of the match beyond doubt with one goal each in under six minutes as Nagoya again kept a clean slate and nearly secured a place in the round of 16 with their fourth win in as many matches.
The Steelers meanwhile notched their third victory in four games to also remain in contention as they scored twice in the first half against the Malaysians Johor.
After seeing several scoring opportunities go lost, Lee Seung-mo broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute with a measured pass from Go Young-joon.
Johor’s defense was caught napping again four minutes later when captain Kang Sang-woo struck with an easy finish after a pass from Ukrainian Borys Tashchy.
© 2021 AFP